Barcelona’s Most Exciting and Exclusive Restaurants
Much of Barcelona’s culinary charm lies not only in the city’s outstanding gastronomic scene and renowned fine dining but equally in the readily available array of tiny tapas bars in hidden corners. It is this eclectic mix of innovation and simplicity, exclusivity and accessibility that renders the city so unique (and has foodies flocking to its scintillating shores). Here is our latest selection of hottest tickets in town, by some of the top chefs in Barcelona.
Now synonymous with Catalan cuisine, the Adrià brothers have turned many a traditional dish both on its head and inside out. Albert Adrià truly shines at his reinvented Modernist tapas bar in the elegant Eixample. At Tickets, each tapas dish is a creative triumph. Adorned with retro touches to resemble a vintage fairground, the space is festooned with pastel-hued ice cream carts and Wonka-like machines whirring lighter-than-air candy-floss into being. Understandably, reservations remain scarce but are undoubtedly worth waiting for, with perhaps the most innovative and accessible Adrià menu yet.
Avinguda Paral.lel 164
+34 93 292 42 53
Following a hugely successful three years with restaurant Compartir in Cadaqués on the beautiful Costa Brava, Disfrutar is the latest project by Eduard Xatruch, Oriol Castro, and Mateu Casañas. The dynamic trio are former head chefs of elBulli, having learned masterful skills working alongside Ferran Adrià for almost two decades.
With the tasting menu starting at €68, this haute cuisine mecca epitomises the seismic shifts witnessed in Spain’s post-crisis culinary scene – spectacular, creative dishes at entry level prices. For a complete culinary journey, I recommend the €98 menu which features 25 tantalising morsels! Highlights include a seafood and avocado meringue sandwich (served as miniature baguettes), red mullet with pork cheeks and aubergine gnocchi and a single, translucent pesto ravioli which was particularly divine. Although with 25 unique courses there are far too many to mention – the food is delicious, theatrical and enormously memorable.
+34 93 348 68 96
In Quechua, the original language of Indigenous Peruvians, Pakta means “Union”. Albert Adrià’s latest project perfectly amalgamates Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, uniting heavyweight Kioko Ii from Japan and the Peruvian Jorge Muñoz for the best “Nikkei” cuisine in Barcelona! In 1873, Peru became the very first Latin American nation to forge a diplomatic tie with the Japanese Empire – a relationship encapsulated in Pakta’s incredible fusion cuisine. The zen restaurant space seats 32, furnished with plenty of minimalist Japanese-inspired wood, alongside enormous spools of Peruvian yarn!
+34 93 624 01 77
Moo, Hotel Omm
Set in within the minimalist chic Hotel Omm, Moo restaurant offers one of Barcelona’s most refined dining experiences, with the Roca brothers of Celler de Can Roca in Girona at the helm. The slick interior houses an ultra contemporary garden patio, drawing Barcelona’s most beautiful people. The menu is characteristic of the Roca brothers’ now iconic modern twist on traditional Spanish cuisine, where patrons are encouraged to order half-portions of any dishes combined, to craft a bespoke menu unique to each individual diner. Highlights include timbale of apple and foie gras with vanilla oil, and the renowned dessert series featuring recreations of iconic perfumes such as Thierry Mugler’s Angel!
+34 93 445 40 00
Soho House’s Dirty Burger and Chicken Shop
Bringing the epitome of comfort food to the Catalan Capital, Soho House’s tried and tested Dirty Burger and Chicken Shop combo is here to stay. The now infamous burger joint serves traditionally American fare, with cocktails, shakes and the juiciest patties around. Neighbouring Chicken Shop (also on Plaza Medicaneli, adjacent to the Port in the Barrio Gótico) serves up rotisserie chickens that are marinated overnight, steamed and then spit-roasted over charcoal. Other quintessentially American foodstuffs include apple pie and brownies, washed down with artisan beer. This naughty duo are the first of their kind in Spain, joining the ranks of 6 existing restaurants throughout London and one in Chicago (thus far). Fine-dining it is not, with no-frills grub executed to perfection. Sometimes only a dirty burger will do!
Rumour has it that a full Soho House club is set to open on the site later this year – set over 6 floors in a stunning Modernista building and featuring a rooftop pool, Cecconi’s reataurant, Cowshed spa and 30-seat movie theatre! We can’t wait.
Plaça del Duc de Medinaceli 2
+34 93 220 47 00
The only restaurant in the city to boast two Michelin stars, with chef Jordi Cruz’s creative take on an exciting array of international dishes. With both 14 and 21 course tasting menus beautifully presented on elaborate Versace china, this is truly a restaurant for celebrating a special occasion!
Avinguda del Tibidabo 1
+34 93 319 66 00
Isidre and Montse Gironés have run Ca L’Isidre, set on the rather nondescript Carrer de les Flors on the edge of the gritty Raval for over 45 years, becoming local legends in the interim. With seasonal produce sourced daily at the local market, their fuss-free dishes are inevitably comforting and done to perfection without fail! As a general rule, their changing menu epitomises rural Catalan cuisine, reflecting the shifting seasons. The couple’s daughter Nuria runs the kitchen today, serving the likes of black truffle risotto and tangy bacallà a la llauna to hungry, happy patrons.
C/Les Flors 12
+34 93 441 11 39
Unassuming deli by day, ultra popular Catalan bistro by night! Recasens frequently sees patrons queuing down the street for a perch in the cosy back-room or buzzy mezzanine.
This family owned restaurant is set on the corner of Rambla del Poble Nou in a quirky space that was original an early 20th Century Butcher’s shop. One of the few inner-city spots where you can still buy homemade cheese, wine, meat and olive oil! The arty vibes and lively atmosphere make for a wonderfully intimate setting, with a warm welcome guaranteed.
Their cheeses are fiendishly delicious, and come served in gooey fondue form, or piled high with ribbons of cured meats on a chunky wooden board. They also have an exciting array of wines and cavas – beware, this is one of those rare places where time flies and before you know it it’s midnight!
Rambla del Poblenou 102
+34 93 300 81 23
Entering El Nacional feels like falling down a foodie rabbit hole. A peach-hued façade on Passeig de Gracia gives way to a vast 3,500m² space housing 4 individual restaurants, each with a distinct concept plus 4 counters ideal for a quick bite when time isn’t on your side. Brainchild of former By13 chef Carles Tejedor, we love the seafood dishes at Llotja and the Brasserie for succulent beef.
Passeig de Gràcia 24
+34 93 518 50 53
Jordi Vilà is one of Barcelona’s youngest highly skilled chefs, whose success with venture Abrevadero alongside business partner Sonia Profitós has been well documented. Michelin-starred Alkimia (as in, Alchemy) is the epitome of industrial-chic, with an ultra minimalist aesthetic and a menu to match. The establishment has developed something of a cult following among Barcelona’s elite, so we recommend trying for an early lunchtime booking on a Monday (unless you know what your schedule will look like towards the end of 2016!). Yum.
Ronda de Sant Antoni 41
Following his runaway success in Madrid with double-michellin-starred La Broche, considered by many to have revolutionised the capital’s culinary scene, Sergi Arola has brought his particular brand of gastronomic thrills to Barcelona at last. More laid back than La Broche, Arola is situated within the stunning Hotel Arts Barcelona. The setting alone is worth a visit, but the modern tapas dishes and sharing plates make this one of the city’s best all round pit stops – they even host DJs on select soirees.
+34 93 221 10 00
Not strictly a restaurant perse, Doble is the latest project conceived by Paco Perez (the Michelin-starred chef of Enoteca and Miramar fame). Inspired by the prohibition era and smoky jazz clubs of 1920s New York City, this is no ordinary nightclub. A great place for delicious food served ‘til late – these casual morsels incorporate influences from around the globe. “So hot right now”.
Passeig de Gràcia 116
+34 93 238 48 46
Orchestrated by creative 29-year-old Ana Merino and her husband Ivan Castro, Mont Bar in the Eixample has been drawing Barcelona’s foodies since it opened in 2013. Her menu is based on organic Mediterranean produce with some unexpected Asian twists. From classic dishes to the more outlandish “prawn cappuccino”, her experience working with the likes of Carles Abellan shows through.
+34 93 323 95 90
This concept bistro on called Muntaner is most definitely worth seeking out. The space is subtly divided into four individual zones including an art gallery in the entrance space to showcase emerging artists, a gourmet shop specializing in unusual teas, and towards the back of the room, a bistro-tea room with with a musical program of jazz, soul, lyrical and classical and dance events and mini-theatre. This ambitious project pays homage to the arts and was inspired by traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Head chef Carl Borg defines Arttes menu as “Cocina Viva”, as it is colourful and packed with vitamins and nutrients.
+34 93 454 90 48
Doing precisely what it says in the tin, El Informal is a supremely laid back barbecue venue by Michelin-starred chef Marc Gascons. With an extremely impressive bespoke barbecue, the team serve up an experimental range of fishy and meaty delights, each thoroughly tried, tested and vetted at Els Tinars, their flagship restaurant in Girona. (Because of course Barcelona has a BBQ joint where every dish has been approved on a Michelin-starred platform…)
Passeig de Colom 9
+34 93 169 18 68
One of the more exciting additions to Barcelona’s eclectic dining scene is BistrEau on Passeig de Gràcia. Making his Barcelona debut at the sleek Mandarin Oriental, chef Ángel Leon is well known in Spain as the “Sea Chef”, or “Chef del Mar”. An aficionado of all things from the deep (he has developed 5 variations of edible plankton), Leon’s flagship establishment Aponiente is conveniently nestled near Cádiz in the beautiful Puerto de Santa María. He is one of Spain’s most knowledgeable personalities on all things fish, seafood, seaweed, and once served a dish at Madrid Fusion inspired by bioluminescence which glowed an eery blue in the dark! Using his Aponiente menu as a foundation, Leon has a lot of fun serving up succulent dishes at BistrEau, each with a distinctly nautical theme or component. Highlights range from a vivid green plankton rice dish to squid ink croquettes.
Passeig de Gràcia 38-40
+34 93 151 88 88